To the editor:
The Kansas Preservation of Religious Freedom Act has a name chosen to evoke strong positive feelings, and based on these words alone, who could disagree? After all, our country was founded on religious freedom.
Our society has evolved to accept the principle that all people have certain fundamental rights, and we have enacted laws to guarantee them. These rights do not depend on a particular belief system (e.g. religion), nor should they be abrogated by one. They must stand on their own and be uniformly applied in order to ensure that everyone can enjoy their benefits equally. When we start making exceptions based on one group’s belief system then we are headed for trouble.
Proponents of this bill claim that certain anti-discrimination laws take away their religious freedom, but how far could this go? Could a landlord who follows a Taliban-like interpretation of Islam use this law to prevent a single woman from renting an apartment? Would we tolerate this type of discrimination?
The only solutions that can work are those based on fundamental human principles that are not dependent on any specific religious point of view. Those who agree with this precept are sometimes viewed as being against religious freedom, but religion cannot be allowed to trump basic human rights. Our country gives you the best guarantee in the world that you will have the freedom to believe as you wish, but we cannot allow such beliefs to deprive someone of rights that belong to us all.